Preview: The Spiteful Landsman

This Week 3 Corpus Late-show delves into the fragile, exploitable power dynamics of the academia world.

Set to show during Week 3 as Corpus’ exciting new Late-show, The Spiteful Landsman will open an inquiry into the shaky and exploitable power dynamics in the world of academia.

(Image credits: Margaux Cooper)

What is the play about? 

The Spiteful Landsmen is a student-written, original play by Dan Ward, directed by Emma Gibson and Maddy Sanderson. The story  follows young research student Haz (Joseph Wolffe), who unearths some unsettling truths about the author of a 1920s cult-novel, and wrestles with academic field expert David (Louis Henry), to entertain his discoveries.

Meanwhile, Ruth (Sofya Boruleva), a young student, becomes more and more wrapped up in a disconcertingly uncomfortable relationship with her supervisor, Emma (Vianca Shah).

These mounting tensions are only backlit by furiously competitive academic discussion – “A simmering tension boils underneath,” says director Emma Gibson, “until it comes to a point [and erupts.]”

The academic conflict in particular is centered around a fictional book, and the assorted interpretations by academics that surround it – expect the intellectual discussion and drama that will unfold!

(Image Credits: Naima Clarvis)

How is the characterisation in the play – is there a hero, or a villain?

“There’s not really one character that I would say is [morally] great,” laughs Gibson. “Everyone [in the play] is messy and difficult, and hurts people in their life – no one is particularly correct in what they have to say.” Coupled with the already riveting plot, the juicy moral ambiguity will only heighten the tension and energy – evident in rehearsals already – that oozes out of the play.

What will audiences take away from The Spiteful Landsman?

The Spiteful Landsman and its premises intends to cut a little too close to home for comfort – uneasy questions about the shrouded academic scene will come into light, and it will set out to spark discussions about intellectual control, power dynamic and authority. “I hope that the audience will carry on the discussions raised in the play,’ says Gibson. ‘It comes to an unresolved conflict [by the end of it.]”

Should you watch The Spiteful Landsman?

Personally, I was impressed with the intricate storyline and the play’s riveting themes, and the energy and cohesiveness of the cast also already ricochets off one another. I expect The Spiteful Landsman will become an uncanny mirror of real-life academic conflict, and if you’re into biting drama and suspense, The Spiteful Landsman will probably be packed to the gills with it.


The Spiteful Landsman will be showing  at 9:30pm from Tuesday 1st February till Saturday 5th February 2022, at the Corpus Playroom. 

Featured image credits: Margaux Cooper 

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